Mark Webber took his third race win of 2010 today with victory at the British Grand Prix, finishing just ahead of home favourite Lewis Hamilton.
Pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel picked-up a puncture in the opening corners of the race, dropping him down to the back of the field. The German recovered to finish seventh.
Nico Rosberg picked up another podium finish for Mercedes, and Jenson Button, who started the race down in fourteenth, finished fourth to keep his second place in the championship standings behind his McLaren teammate.
Rubens Barrichello had another good race for Williams, finishing fifth in his team's home race. Kobayashi finished sixth.
Vettel, Adrian Sutil, Michael Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg collected the rest of the points.
There was further safety car-related misery for Fernando Alonso, who was awarded a drive-through penalty just before a safety car was required. The rulebook states that punishments cannot be served under the safety car, and the Spaniard was dropped right down the field when he finally drove through the pit lane. He finished the race fourteenth, but did set the fastest lap.
Before the start of the race, it seemed that for Lewis Hamilton to have any chance of a second British Grand Prix victory, he needed good start. There was also great anticipation surrounding the two Red Bull drivers before the lights went out. How would they behave as they headed into Copse on the first lap?
Vettel was on pole position, although starting on the right-hand side of the grid, as Webber had to from second place, is not much of a disadvantage on this track.
Off the line Webber got an excellent start and overtook his teammate into the first corner. Hamilton was close behind the leaders into Copse. The Brit's front wing end-fence tagged Vettel's right-rear tyre, and the Red Bull driver ran off the track after picking up a puncture.
Hamilton had a look at leader Webber into Abbey on the opening lap, but couldn't find a way past. There was another look into Brooklands but Hamilton crossed the line to complete his first lap in second place. The sound of the spectator's air-horns could be heard above the roar of the V8 engines.
Vettel limped into the pits with his puncture, only just beating the medical car back into the pit lane. Massa also required an emergency pit stop to replace a damaged tyre. He touched his Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso in the opening melee.
Jenson Button made it from fourteenth up to eighth place off the grid, Schumacher was up to seventh from his starting position of tenth, and Alonso dropped from third to fifth.
At the end of Lap 5, Webber led from Hamilton by 1.5 seconds, with Robert Kubica 6.5 seconds further down the road in third. Rosberg and Alonso were following the Pole closely, with Barrichello, Schumacher, Button, Kobayashi and Sutil making up the top ten in these early stages.
In the build up to the pit stops, Webber was able to pull out slight lead over the Hamilton with a series of fastest laps. The two front-runners were in a race of their own at the front, with Robert Kubica consistently over a second-a-lap off the pace of the leaders.
Schumacher was the first to pit, at the end of Lap 11. He returned to the track in fifteenth place on the harder compound tyres. A lap after Schumacher, Alonso, Barrichello and Kobayashi all made their stops. Kobayashi emerged ahead of Schumacher – a gain of one position for the Sauber driver.
At the front, Webber and Hamilton were now exchanging fastest laps as Kubica pitted from third at the end of Lap 13. Rosberg stayed out and took the third place that Kubica had relinquished. The Renault driver emerged ahead of Alonso, but Rosberg, who remained out, banged in the fastest lap of the race.
When Rosberg pitted at the end of Lap 15 he re-emerged in third place. Lewis Hamilton pitted from second at the end of the next lap, and came out in second, just ahead of his teammate Jenson Button, who was still yet to make his pit stop.
Mark Webber pitted on the following lap, and came out the pits ahead of the McLaren duo.
After the round of pit stops was the key incident involving Alonso and Kubica. The Spaniard overtook Kubica but went off the track as he did so. Alonso told his engineer that he had been forced off the track by Kubica, while Renault will no doubt claim that Alonso gained an advantage by going onto the grass.
Then, on Lap 20, Kubica had to limp back into the pits for his mechanics wheeled him into the garage. With the Renault out of the picture, Alonso couldn't give Kubica his position back, and there was also one less car for Jenson Button, who was still yet to make his stop, to remain ahead of.
Button made his pit stop at the end of Lap 21, and emerged from the pit lane in sixth place. Hulkenberg, who was running third at this point, was the only driver ahead of the world champion who was still yet to stop.
It was then announced by race control that Alonso had been given a drive-through penalty for the pass on Kubica, despite the fact that Kubica was already out of the race.
Alonso would have to wait to serve his penalty though, as the safety car then came out because of debris on the track. The shards of carbon fibre were from the rear of Pedro de la Rosa's Sauber, after he tangled with Tonio Liuzzi.
The safety car period was short, and Alonso made his extra trip through the penalty straightaway, following the AMG Mercedes into the pit lane. With the cars all bunched up by the pace vehicle, Alonso was dropped right down to sixteenth place.
The Spaniard was understandably a bit upset by this turn of events, and asked his team to end all radio communication with him for the rest of the race. For the second grand prix in a row then, Alonso thinks that he has been unfairly disadvantage by safety car incidents.
Webber, Hamilton, Rosberg and Button made up the top four, and there were twenty laps left. With no more scheduled pit stops lined up, it was down to the drivers to overtake if they wanted to make up any positions.
They duly obliged straightaway: Adrian Sutil overtook Michael Schumacher to take seventh place, and Vettel got past Felipe Massa to claim twelfth.
At the front, Webber was setting fastest laps again. At the end of Lap 35, Webber was 3.8 seconds ahead of Hamilton but Jenson Button was just 0.8 seconds behind third place man Nico Rosberg.
Vettel was storming through the field by this point. He used the speed advantage of his RB6 to get past Vitaly Petrov and Nico Hulkenberg. The German was now up to ninth, and Michael Schumacher was next on his hit list. Vettel just drove straight past the seven-time world champion and another fellow German, Sutil was standing between him and seventh place, and there were ten laps to go.
Vettel eventually managed to get past Sutil on his penultimate lap, barging his way past the Force India. By this point in the race he was too far behind sixth place man Kamui Kobayashi to threaten him, and thus Vettel's damage limitation exercise was over.
Webber crossed the line to become the first driver this season to win three races, and Lewis Hamilton followed behind 1.3 seconds later. Rosberg kept Button at bay to get his third podium finish of 2010.
“Not bad for a number two driver” was Webber's response to Christian Horner's post-race radio congratulations.